Australian Women Writers 1900-1950 free ebooks/ english
An exhibition of material from the Monash University Library,
Rare Book Collection
Writing produced by women in the first half of the twentieth century challenged previously given roles of gender and negotiated a rapidly changing social climate. Australia became an independent nation in 1901. By 1903 it was the only country
where white women could both vote and stand for national parliament. Women’s writing between 1900 and 1950 reflected the suffrage movement, as well as the effects of Federation, two World Wars, increasing industrialisation and urbanisation, women entering the workplace, and emergent discourses of sexology and  psychology. New subject formations were taking place around gender, race, and
While the women’s movement began in the late 1880s and 1890s, the high point of suffrage was between 1906 and 1914. Women’s new freedoms were viewed as a mixed blessing.1 An article in The Age discerned that the New Woman “wants independence, individual and economic as well as political independence…she wants absolute freedom to choose her occupations and interests. She thinks that all
legal or conventional obstacles should be removed which debar woman from determining herself, as freely as man determines, what are the real limitations of sex, and what the merely conventional”.2 In contrast, the 1903 Royal Commission into the Decline of the Birthrate concluded that the selfishness of women was a significant cause.3 While the New woman was regarded with varying ambivalence, even seen to be “shaking [her] well-manicured fists in the face of God’s immutable laws,” another relatively new social identity, the girl played an important role in post-Federatio constructions of national identity…. free ebooks